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Private dentistry

Name of complainant: The Consumers' Association

Date of complaint: 25 October 2001

Subject of complaint

The Consumers' Association (CA) believe that competition in this sector was ineffective and identifying a number of core problems worthy of further investigation. These are:

(a) a lack of price transparency in the provision of private treatment

(b) a failure of competition in the provision of private treatment

(c) a failure of new entry to the market for private dental provision to bring down prices

(d) lack of a system for dealing with consumer complaints and offering suitable redress for private dental treatment

(e) the impact which the lack of access to NHS treatment is having on competition in the provision of private dental treatment

(f) a failure by dentists to comply with guidance produced by the British DentalAssociation.

OFT response: 23 January 2002

A preliminary study by the OFT has highlighted some key questions about the private dentistry market. These concern the transparency of prices, the level of competition and the way complaints are handled and redress offered. There are also questions about access to dental services and about how much guidance patients are given before treatment is undertaken.

Action following response

The OFT launched a market study into the Private Dentistry.

Key documents




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